Nissan concept camper van gives digital nomads a surfy workation
As the pandemic creeps slowly onward, it seems Nissan suits are going absolutely stir-crazy. At least that's the impression we're left with after the automaker revealed both a mobile office van concept and all-electric mini-ski lodge concept within a week of each other. The latest Nissan camper van concept blends the spirit of those previous two concepts into one. The Nissan x OGUshow NV350 Caravan ES Mobility Concept debuts as a versatile work/play van that functions as a mobile office, overnight shelter and multi-sport base camp.
Last month's NV350 Caravan Office Pod Concept was cool, but it left us wanting to see some basic overnight accommodations — who wants to travel out to the middle of the wilderness for work, only to have to turn around and come home afterward? It seems OGUshow felt the same way, designing a more playful, overnight-ready mobile office concept. The name is clunky, but the NV350 Caravan OGUshow ES Mobility Concept is just the style of freeing, multipurpose work/rec van we had in mind after seeing the Office Pod.
A more fitting description for the new concept would be the Workation, a portmanteau of work and vacation that's quite topical during these times of remote work. The term actually appears repeatedly on the Mobility Concept website and video, so from now on, we know the van only by the name Workation concept.
Beginning with the boxy Japanese-market NV350 Caravan GX, OGUshow set about creating a new breed of MPV. The Workation isn't a package so much as a preview of available, upcoming and potential "ES" components that would allow OGUshow customers to build up their own multifunctional van, piece by piece.
The foundational component that makes the whole concept tick is the ES flip bed, an ingenious spin on an otherwise commonplace camper van component. Many camper vans include rear beds split down the middle, with left and right mattress platforms that fold against their respective sidewalls to clear cargo space. The ES Flip Bed follows half the formula, with a left-side mattress that can fold up against the wall. Its right-side counterpart, however, does not fold, instead splitting into three individual cushioned panels.
Workation van owners can still move the entire bed out of the way to free up plenty of load space, but they can also use the three right-bed panels to create different layouts. Drop the left-side mattress down, remove all three right-side cushions, and you have a single sofa. Drop one of the right-side cushions next to the front or back end of the couch, and you have an L-shaped sofa. Users can adjust the setup around both the cargo they're carrying and also what they're doing that very moment.
When it comes to working from the road, the Workation ditches the usual stiff, single-location dining table/desk for more flexible options. The black out-paneled right rear window has a drop-down shelf that works as a laptop desk, countertop, side table, TV (tablet) stand or whatever else occupants need it for. Another option is the versatile mobile workstation with legs that curve comfortably away from the user. It can be used as a mini dining table or laptop desk, whether sitting on a rear van seat or the flip bed sofa.
The Workation design has the water in mind and comes shown with two interior headliner racks: one for surfboards and one for fishing rods. Both rack setups rely on the same tubular side bars, which also work for hanging clothes. For dripping-wet swimwear, a tailgate rod provides an outdoor drying rack. Meanwhile, a simple tailgate sunshade offers a reprieve from the day's rays.
The Workation van doesn't pack hard-wired electrical or plumbing amenities, instead keeping things light and flexible with components like dual portable power stations, a portable camping stove and an electric fridge/freezer. There's also the option of a floor-mounted bicycle rack for some inland recreation.
One other interesting Workation feature is the electric glass rear window on the left side. With the right-side window fully covered over, campers need only switch the left window from transparent to opaque to darken the "bedroom" for a nap or good night of sleep.
The NV350 comes powered by choice of 129-hp 2.0-liter gas or 127-hp 2.5-liter diesel engine. Those touring solo or as a pair will be able to free up extra luggage space by flipping the rear seats forward. The concept's features may be very coast- and water-oriented, but its exterior graphics are split: one side for water workation, the other for mountain.
There's no price for this concept vehicle, and the new components previewed have not launched yet. The van definitely serves as an effective advertisement for OGUshow, displaying the flexible creativity the brand brings to its conversions and accessories. We love the quick-flexing versatility and simple but functional work/camp design. Beyond preparing concepts, OGUshow offers components and conversion packages for various van and small truck platforms, aimed at the likes of dirt bikers and anglers.
The five-minute concept intro video is a bit long and drawn out, but it does show the van and its features in action.